Three-time champions India overcame a shaky start against Ireland to open their campaign with a 79-run victory in a Group D match of the under-19 cricket World Cup here on Thursday.
India were reduced to 55 for four after being sent into bat, before Sarfaraz Khan and Washington Sundar pulled their side out of trouble with an 110-run partnership for the fifth wicket.
Sarfaraz smashed 74 off 70 balls which included seven boundaries while left-handed Sundar hit a polished 62.
Irish seamers Rory Anders and Joshua Little picked up three wickets each, but tail-ender Zeeshan Ansari boosted India’s total with a run-a-ball 36 at the end.
In reply, Ireland were bowled out for 189 as Rahul Batham took three for 15 and Avesh Khan finished with two for 24.
India were brilliant in the field too as they affected two crucial run-outs at the beginning of Ireland’s chase.
Sarfaraz said he was not satisfied despite winning the player of the match award.
“I should have scored more because I had settled in well,” he said. “Hopefully, I will do better in the remaining matches. But it is good to start the tournament with a win,” he said.
India captain Ishan Kishan was relieved that his side collected maximum points.
“We lost early wickets but runs were done by Sarfaraz and Washington who had an excellent partnership. The fielding effort was great as we inflicted two run-outs at the start and then, the bowlers hit the right areas,” the opener said.
“I am not that much happy with the batting as we lost early wickets but this was the first match and I am sure we’ll learn from this match and do better in upcoming matches.
“India have won the event thrice, so the expectation level is pretty high. We have to play professionally and try to live up to the expectations,” added Kishan.
Ireland captain Jack Tector chose to look at the defeat positively. “We started the game very well with the ball and then also had a few partnerships which bodes well for the future,” Tector said.
In another game, Nepal caused the first real upset of the tournament as they beat heavyweights New Zealand by 32 runs in Fatullah.
In Group B games played in Sylhet, Pakistan crushed Afghanistan by six wickets and Sri Lanka overpowered Canada by 196 runs.